On the Evolution of a Novel Function

Published on 5 March 2019 in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America:

Molecular mechanism and history of non-sense to sense evolution of antifreeze glycoprotein gene in northern gadids

Xuan Zhuang, Chun Yang, Katherine R. Murphy, and C.-H. Christina Cheng

You can read the article here: https://www.pnas.org/content/116/10/4400

The authors show how an apparently irreduciblly complex phenotypical element arose by a combination of mutation and natural selection.

10 thoughts on “On the Evolution of a Novel Function

  1. Looking at Hunter’s criticism, I’m not sure whether he’s suggesting the claim that a nine base nucleotide segment duplication was the origin of the glycoprotein is so simple that it’s entirely possible to arrive by chance or that it couldn’t anyway even being so simple but, hey, religion drives science and it matters.

  2. Rumraket,
    Good stuff, though the thread does wander off topic to the extent I’d followed some of the conversation previously without realising it was about fish antifreeze proteins.

  3. The key point is that Hunter doesn’t seem to accept (or understand) model selection, or hypothesis testing by comparing predictions to observation. As such, Hunter does not accept phylogenetic inference as evidence for the evolution of a protein coding gene from non coding DNA.

    One wonders how Hunter supports his IDcreationism.

  4. Rumraket: One wonders how Hunter supports his IDcreationism.

    He supports it, as do most IDC’s, by undercutting alternatives and never by providing positive evidence for his claims.

  5. This is not necessarily new function in as much as plants have anti-freeze genes. How is the possibility eliminated that other fish had such genes and simply lost them?

    In any case, new function and species and new life forms emerge. NO PROBLEM:



    In light about questions of multi cellular evolution, experiments claiming to evolve multicellularity do not absolutely exclude the possibility these creatures actually used to be multicellular and that maybe all that happened was that some multicellularity was re-acquired by a DE-evolved creature that is today unicellular.

    To that end, it is more likely, imho a unicellular creature can evolve from a multicelluar one because of the problem of complexity. The direction of evolving a complex creature to a simple one is more in line with creationist theory. Added to that, many biologists think viruses evolved from complex cellular creatures, not the other way around!

    An example of multicellular to unicellular evolution is of a venerially transmitted disease that came from a dog that is now a unicellular organism/parasite:


    Although the genome of a CTVT is derived from a canid (probably a dog, wolf or coyote), it is now essentially living as a unicellular, asexually reproducing (but sexually transmitted) pathogen.


    CTVT first emerged in a dog that lived about 11,000 years ago. All CTVT tumours carry the DNA belonging to this “founder dog”. By counting and analysing the mutations acquired by CTVT tumours around the world we can piece together how and when CTVT emerged and spread. CTVT is thus the oldest cancer known in nature.


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